Fritz Lang at IFFR
Fritz LANG (1890, Vienna – 1976, Los Angeles) is a classic name in the history of film, and one who defies easy categorisation. Not a man for the boundless spectacle, not a maker of horror or Westerns, not a spinner of psychological dramas, nor especially enamoured of science fiction, nevertheless he was in fact all of these to some extent, or in any event engaged in all of them at some time – not so surprising perhaps for someone who made over 50 films. Having written several screenplays, Lang started making films himself in 1919. Without much success, until in 1921 Der müde Tod marked the beginning of a series which, following on from Expressionism and drenched in the approaching German cataclysm, unmistakably represents the peak of his career. This lasted until 1933, the year in which, while abroad, he decided not to return to his home country, where Hitler was now running the show. He would undoubtedly have been disappointed that his ex-wife and regular collaborator, Thea von Harbou, did succumb to the temptation of the Nazis. Lang built a new career in the United States – a career with many highlights, but which did not appeal so much to the imagination, perhaps precisely because of its huge variety. What is the core of Lang? Years later he mused to an interviewer: "Film should have an element of social criticism. And be a means of mass culture. If possible. What am I, what are filmmakers? A beach made up of many tiny grains of sand. I am such a grain of sand, and that’s fine." Lang set foot in Germany again for the first time in 1957. He went on to make another two films, one of which was based around a theme he had written a screenplay on in 1921, based on a novel by Thea von Harbou. He then retired.
Der Herr der Liebe (1919), Harakiri (1919), Halbblut (1919), Das Wandernde Bild (1920), Die Spinnen, 2. Teil: Das Brillantenschiff (1920), Vier um die Frau (1921), Der Muede Tod (1921), Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (1922) Die Nibelungen: Siegfried (1924), Die Nibelungen: Kriemhilds Rache (1924), Metropolis (1926) Spione (1928), Die Frau im Mond (1929), M (1931), Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (1932), Liliom (1934), Fury (1936), You Only Live Once (1937), You and Me (1938), The Return of Frank James (1940), Western Union (1941), Man Hunt (1941), Hangmen Also Die! (1943), The Woman in the Window (1944), Ministry of Fear (1944), Scarlet Street (1945), Cloak and Dagger (1946), Secret Beyond the Door (1948), House by the River (1950), American Guerilla in the Philippines (1950), Rancho Notorious (1952), Clash by Night (1952), The Blue Gardenia (1953), The Big Heat (1953), Human Desire (1954), Moonfleet (1955), While the City Sleeps (1956), Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956), Der Tiger von Eschnapur (1958), Das Indische Grabmal (1959), Die Tausend Augen des Dr. Mabuse (1960)